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Thorne Ready To Rematch Farley In Race For 49th Senate District

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Democrat Madelyn Thorne will once again challenge New York State Senator Hugh Farley in the 49th District this November.

After defeating Democratic primary challenger Patti Southworth, a former Ballston town supervisor, Madelyn Thorne moves on to a rematch with Republican State Senator Hugh Farley in the race for the second-largest Senate district in New York.

In 2012, Thorne, then a political newcomer, lost to the now 81-year-old incumbent by a wide margin.

Fresh off her primary victory, Thorne said she’s looking forward to November.

“What we’re hearing from the people of the 49th is that they want a change and they're ready for a change," said Thorne.

Senator Farley, in his fourth decade in office and a former WAMC board member said he’s also excited to run in a year that he believes will be good for Republicans. 

“Madelyn is a formidable opponent," said Farley. "I won with one of the biggest margins in the Senate in a contested race last time. It was a presidential year and it was a very tough year for Republicans."

Control of the Senate will be determined in November. The Assembly is overwhelmingly led by Democrats, while the Senate in the last session was controlled by Republicans and a group of breakaway Independent Democrats.

To secure the Working Families Party nomination in his race for reelection, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to break up the IDC and reunite the Senate Democrats.

Thorne said she aims to join other Democratic Senators from the region to move issues forward that failed to make it through the last session including the DREAM Act, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, and all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Agenda, including the abortion rights provision.

“When I am the senator from the 49th and I join my Democratic colleagues, particularly my Democratic colleagues from upstate New York - Senators Tkaczyk, Breslin, Gipson - now we have a block of Democratic Senators. We could do such fantastic work for this area," said Thorne.

Farley, running for his 15th term, has been a vocal opponent of New York’s SAFE Act gun control law and is also running on Republican gubernatorial challenger Rob Astorino’s Stop Common Core party line.

Farley said he sees Republican control of the Senate as a balance to a heavily Democratic state government.

“The Assembly is heavily controlled by Democrats, the governorship is in the Democrat hands, the attorney general is in the Democrat hands, and so is the comptroller," said Farley. "So I think that they need a little balance, and a little check, and I think that retaining the Republican Senate is terribly important and I think most people realize that," said Farley.

Thorne also seeks reforms to the Common Core testing standards and education financing for upstate schools.

Thorne pointed to Farley’s lengthy career in the Senate and said it’s time for a new face.

“38 years? It's just not bringing the programs to us any more," said Thorne.

Meanwhile, Farley recalled his seniority in the Senate and maintains that his voters have shown their trust in him.

“I've been very active, I serve on all the important committees because of my seniority and I'm very pleased with the opportunity I've had to serve my district," said Farley.

The 49th District stretches across Schenectady, Saratoga, Fulton, Herkimer, and  Hamilton Counties.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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